Easy as pie

I made my first pie (not just from scratch, but ever) recently. Somehow I thought starting off easy would be making an apple & port wine pie in a cheddar cheese crust. A lofty undertaking, some said, but I thought the recipe was very straight forward. The apple filling recipe ended up being one that popped up all over the web, with slight adjustments, and the cheddar crust was from Martha Stewart, although I didn’t use white cheddar, which is why my crust looks more speckled with cheese.


What’s not easy as pie? This whole blogging business. I’m so impressed with my friends, offline and on the web, who consistently come up with interesting content, have fresh designs, or are just driven by inspiration so much that their creative well doesn’t run dry. Stay tuned for a follow-up post where I delve in depth into: why am I compelled to write, in general; why lack of creative self-discipline is standing in my way; and why I need some help pushing through the writing block hurdles. For now, here’s pie.

Apple-port pie with cheddar cheese crust

For pie filling:

• 1 1/2 c. Sugar
• 1/4 c. Cornstarch
• 2/3 c. Apple juice
• 2/3 c. Port wine
• 2 Tbsp. Butter/margarine
• 1 x Lemon peel, grated
• 8 med Cooking apples, peeled and sliced, (7-8 C.)

For crust:

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 cup ice water


  1. Mix flour, salt, sugar and butter until mix resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheddar cheese.
  2. Add in water gradually and mix lightly with fork to create dough.
  3. Turn dough out; gather into a block. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes – 1 hr.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. While dough is cooling, for the filling, peel, core and dice apples.
  6. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
  7. Stir in apple juice, port, butter and lemon peel.
  8. Cook over medium heat till mix boils; add in apples and cook gently till just tender.
  9. Divide pastry in half and roll out one half to fit a 9-inch pie pan (roughly a 13″ circle).
  10. Roll second half of pastry and cut into ten 1/2-inch strips, place on waxed parchment paper and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Spoon into bottom pie crust. Dot filling with butter. Cover with lattice crust. Fold edges over; crimp decoratively to seal.
  12. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, on lower rack, pie pan placed on baking sheet. Reduce temp to 350 and bake until golden brown for 45 minutes or so.